NEW YORK – Between extracurricular sports and parents working long hours, is family dinner becoming more obsolete? Three in five Americans think every dinner should be a “family dinner” — and as many wish they could eat with their family more often.
In a survey of 2,000 American adults, the average person says they can only spend three dinners a week with loved ones. Many have seen a decrease in how often they eat with their family, leaving them wanting more. In his youth, the average person remembered eating four dinners a week with his family and two other dinners with other people outside his family circle.
For nearly half of respondents (49%), family dining together is an “important way to connect” over a meal. The potluck dinners were also good for creating memories (46%), learning more about their family in general (46%) and carrying on family traditions (45%).
Commissioned by The Honey Baked Ham Company and conducted by OnePoll, the study also explored what table manners would look like in 2022. The data revealed that two-thirds (67%) of respondents believe having good table manners at the table is an important factor in family dinners. .
Did you wash your hands? Most common etiquette rules for family dinners
More than a third (35%) follow the same rules of etiquette as when they were children. Twenty-six percent note that they made their own rules as adults. The top five universal rules of table etiquette that Americans follow today are: wash your hands before sitting at the table (49%), don’t talk with your mouth full (46%), don’t sip your food or drink (44%), chew with your mouth closed (44%) and do not make noise with kitchen utensils (43%).
The survey also revealed the most offensive “sins” at the table. The main prohibitions include chewing with your mouth open (19%), not washing your hands (17%) and burping (17%).
“We’re glad to hear that families want to spend more quality time together talking, catching up and bonding over a delicious family meal,” said Jim Dinkins, CEO of The Honey Baked. Ham Company, in a statement. “What pleasantly surprises us is how many people consider good table manners to be an important part of the family dining experience.”
What is the cost of “convenience”?
When eating with others, nearly half of Americans prefer home-prepared meals (49%) or homemade meals (48%). Take-out orders (43%) and restaurant meals (32%) follow closely behind.
Parents in the survey were particularly fond of home-cooked meals – four in five preferring them over any other method of preparing dinner. Yet the average parent can only prepare four meals from scratch per week. Two in three (65%) say preparing dinner for their family is a stressful event.
This may be especially true during the summer months, as parents reported feeling more stressed about preparing dinner in the summer (59%) compared to the school year (53%). When asked what would stop them from preparing a home-cooked meal, 43% of all respondents said they didn’t want to deal with the cleaning process. Others don’t have the cooking skills (40%) or don’t have the time (35%).
To be considered a “convenient” meal, the average American says it takes less than 33 minutes to prepare. As for the price per meal, Americans expect the cost of a family meal per person to be $10.10 for a home-cooked meal, $12 for take-out, $11. $60 for fast food and $12.40 for a sit down meal at the restaurant.
“No matter how you define family, we’re all looking for ways to keep family dinner stress-free,” Dinkins adds. “Finding something quick to do is only part of the solution.”